Grand Canyon Rafting

The natural beauty of the Grand Canyon can be enjoyed from a list of different vantage points, with overlooks on high, hiking trails spread in-between, and the winding Colorado River below. While some people opt to stay on the upper rims of the Grand Canyon, others find the perspective from below just as rewarding, if not the ultimate compliment to peering in from above. Grand Canyon rafting trips are the perfect way for travelers to add some extra excitement to their Arizona vacation, allowing them to marvel at the rising canyon walls as they drift along the mighty Colorado River.

The Grand Canyon’s layers of exposed geologic strata can be appreciated from basically all vantage points, but there is perhaps no better means by which to observe them than by Grand Canyon rafting. As your group makes its way along the great Colorado River, the canyon’s geological history is on constant nearby display. If you have a good guide, they can help you interpret what the layers of stratification have to say about the canyon’s history. While some may relish in historical side notes while Grand Canyon rafting, others are in it strictly for the thrill. The Colorado River is one of only 3 rivers in the entire world where the usual system of rating the rapids is abandoned for a more comprehensive scale. While most rivers are rated on a scale of 1 to 6, with 6 meaning that the rapids in question are impassable, the Colorado River is rated on a scale from 1 to 10. In other words, it’s the real deal.

Most people who plan Grand Canyon rafting trips choose to come during the summer, but some of the companies encourage visitors to consider planning Grand Canyon rafting tours between May and early June, and in September. During these months, the various rafting companies are less inclined to be fully booked, meaning there is room for a bit more flexibility than if you decide to come in the summer. Any way you slice it, it behooves you to plan your Grand Canyon rafting adventure as far ahead as possible, especially in the summer, when waiting lists can be rather long. More and more, however, the growing number of tour companies offering Grand Canyon rafting trips means that the myth of having to book your trip years in advance is becoming a thing of the past. A short online search of the Grand Canyon rafting tours that are available will yield numerous options, whether you are basing your vacation in Arizona, or are coming from other southwest states, such as California and Nevada. Sure, you can get a lot of excitement while gaming in Vegas, but it’s hard to match the thrilling mayhem of powering your way through white water rapids in the Grand Canyon. Imagine a Las Vegas vacation that features both gambling and Grand Canyon white water rafting. It might just be the most riveting one-two vacation punch out there.

Grand Canyon rafting trips are typically comprised of 3 different and distinct opportunities. These include commercial trips, short noncommercial trips and the extended self-guided trips, which are awarded by way of a weighted lottery system. If time is something you don’t have a lot of during your Grand Canyon trip, you can arrange a 1 or 2-day Grand Canyon rafting excursion with one of the commercial tour groups in the area. These 1 to 2-day commercial trips can include just a quick half-day trip, an extended full-day trip, or the overnight two-day trip. The half-day trips usually embark from the town of Page, Arizona, which is located along the Colorado River near the Utah border. The full-day trips typically involve entering the water at the western end of the Grand Canyon, on the Hualapi Indian grounds at Diamond Creek. If you are looking to make rafting the main activity of your Grand Canyon vacation, you can also check out the various options for extended commercial tours, which can last anywhere from 3-18 days. Any of the overnight trips generally include wonderful Grand Canyon camping at night, where you can stare wide-eyed at the nighttime stars as you reflect on the day’s adventure.

If you are planning a self-guided, non-commercial Grand Canyon rafting trip, you will have to apply to the Grand Canyon River Permits Office for a Noncommercial River Permit. These noncommercial Grand Canyon rafting trips typically embark from Diamond Creek and allow for no more than 16 participants. Permittees are also required to make arrangements with the Hualapai Tribe for fees related to crossing their designated land. Noncommercial Grand Canyon rafting trips can take from 2 to 5 days for the shorter runs, and last anywhere from 12-25 days for the extended runs. The longer 12-25-day trips are awarded only to those who applied for the weighted lottery. As for the year 2008, all of the extended, noncommercial permits have already been rewarded. The National Park Service can help those who are looking to get their names into the upcoming lottery, and can assist visitors with any other concerns. For more information on Grand Canyon rafting trips, you can check out the related Grand Canyon River Rafting and Grand Canyon Whitewater Rafting articles.

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